How to Remove Wallpaper | Days of Chalk and Chocolate

How to Remove Wallpaper

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Y'all know I've been battling the powder room. Well, we won! It was a long fight and for a while I thought we'd have to surrender and call in back up but with some perseverance and steam we conquered! Do you have shkeevy wallpaper in your home? Get rid of it! Cover it with bead board! HA HA HA! Ok, remove it.

Tools I recommend to remove wallpaper:

  • wallpaper steamer
  • wallpaper perforating tool
  • putty knife
  • wallpaper sponge (they have a soft side and an abrasive side)
  • bucket
1. I recommend trying to peel the printed layer off to see how old, how pasted, etc. your paper is. The decorative (and I use that word loosely) layer in the kitchen came off very easily but we were left with a layer of paper backing that was glued. The bathroom came off completely (decorative and paper layers) and we were left with just a layer of glue.

2. If you are left with a paper layer or your decorative layer is hard to peel off then you'll need to score it with a rotating wallpaper perforating tool. Mine was a few bucks at Lowe's.  Perforate by pressing the tool against the wall and rotating in circles. It was easy and the more holes you make the easier it is for the steam to get under the paper.

3. Rent or buy a steamer. It was the key to our whole process in both rooms. We chose to buy one since it cost us under $50 at Lowe's and renting would have ended up costing us more.  Then I can spray paint it and use it as a planter when we're all done. KIDDING! 

 Ours came with two size steamer heads and we found the smaller of the two works the best. It is much more concentrated than the larger.

3. Hold the steamer against the wall for a few seconds and then use a metal putty knife to scrape the steamed, wet glue.   

If you have the paper layer to  remove do this after perforating and use the pallet knife to scrape the wallpaper. Then go back over it as described in step 3 to get the glue off.  

*A couple of warnings about the steamer:  

If you use too much steam you can gouge the wall board. Be careful to only hold it on as long as needed to soften the glue. And buy Spackle when you buy your steamer.

Also, turn the electric off when you go around open electric outlets and open light fixtures.   You have to be careful not to get the steam near the electrical sources.

4. You will probably still have glue residue on your walls.   I tried a wallpaper paste remover product. I sprayed it on the walls and then wiped. That being said, I ended up ditching it in favor of hot water with a tad bit of liquid dish washing soap in it.  The soap helps break down the proteins in the glue. Worked beautifully.

You can see the difference pretty clearly. The bottom is completely cleaned and the top is not.

Too much steam. Wah-waaaah.

This will be a choose your own adventure tutorial. You have two step 5s. Pick one.

5. Continue with the process until all the walls are clean and thoroughly dry. Spackle any gouges, holes, etc.  Sand until smooth, prime, paint.


5. Decide you're putting up bead board instead and forget the whole thing.



  1. This made me laugh so hard because we have battled wallpaper in every room of our house. Some fell right off the walls and some were a scraping nightmare. My weapon of choice was a bucket of warm water with fabric softener in it. That made the whole house smell good too. For the living room GRASS CLOTH (ick!)(which is detailed on my blog) we ended up using an industrial sprayer and just soaked the walls with it. It was a mess but worked the best. I have one more wall to do- a decorative wall in the dining room with a faux "cork" paper- and then that will be it for us. Thanks for the laughs!

  2. I am totally pinning this! Thanks for the great tip!!

  3. Haha your very last option made me laugh! That's probably what I would do! Great instructions!

  4. Jenny,

    We moved into a house with lots of wallpaper. I have spent the last year, removing it room by room, and I'm about half done. Some paper came down really easy, and others was a bit of chore. Glad to hear you won your bathroom battle!

    I followed you over from the Serenity Now linky party. I would love if you stopped by my blog.

    Thanks for sharing,

  5. Oh my gosh, I love your writing style. I felt like we were talking together, peeling wallpaper. But you were doing most of the work. I was eating a donut. We are planning out a renovation of my husband's grandmother's house that is held together entirely by wall paper. Totally dreading the process of getting it off; but YOU HAVE GIVEN ME HOPE! Clicking to follow you and reaching for another donut... keep steaming and peeling... jules

  6. A half and half mix of water and Downy works very well.. We got the unscented product.


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